Sales competition to sharpen skills, help employers identify top talent

March 14, 2013 | Events, UToday, Business and Innovation
By Bob Mackowiak



The Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales in The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation will conduct its Third Annual Invitational Sales Competition Friday, March 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Huntington Sales Lab, Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement Room 4200.

It’s an event that is as exciting and rewarding for the sales professionals who serve as mentors and judges as it is for participating professional sales students.

“The Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales is very engaged with the business community, as is the entire UT College of Business and Innovation,” noted Dr. Ellen Pullins, professor of marketing and school director. “Company recruiters, who serve as coaches, judges and buyers in the role-play sessions, are also interested in obtaining the best sales talent for their organizations. We are here to help them achieve their goals while preparing our students for great success in the field of professional sales.

“The Edward Schmidt School of Professional Sales is consistently recognized as one of the top professional sales programs in the United States,” Pullins said. “Our students are always in high demand and are being successfully placed. In fact, our career placement rate is approaching 100 percent, which is a particularly significant achievement given recent economic conditions. In the past, 70 percent of the students in this competition received job offers following the event from the attending firms.”

“The Invitational Sales Competition is a tremendous event,” said Kevin Donahue, district manager with the Sherwin-Williams Co. “The organization and attention to detail made it great for both the sales students and for the participating companies.”

The senior division of this sales competition is open to students who have successfully completed their basic sales class and who have not accepted a job offer. All other professional sales students, freshmen through juniors, who are available for internships, are eligible for the junior division of the competition. The professional sales faculty team reviews the applicants and selects the top 36 based on demonstrated conceptual selling skills, academic performance, professionalism and career placement status.

A study by the Sales Education Foundation reported that firms are deliberately seeking professional sales students because they “ramp up 50 percent faster” than non-sales-educated peers, experience less turnover, and save money for employers.

Pullins explained that among the benefits provided within professional sales education are the use of role-playing and simulations, which offer hands-on training; internships that build competence and confidence; and a faculty with sales experience providing knowledgeable guidance.

There are 50 corporate recruiters attending the sales competition from 30 companies. Corporate spots at this competition were filled in December with no advertising; there was a waiting list of companies hoping to participate.

Among the companies participating are 3M, Cleveland Cavaliers, Hilti, Huntington Bank, MassMutual, Northwestern Mutual, Shrader Tire and Oil, SSOE, Sherwin Williams Co., TEK Systems, Tenneco, ThermaTru, and Verizon Wireless.